I am so sorry that I have not kept everyone updated about Frantina’s surgery. Unfortunately, I have been sick with dizziness and vomiting while she was in the hospital and it took everything in me to drag myself to the hospital to spend every night with her.
We went to the hospital on Tuesday and Vivianne sat with her in the neurosurgical ward in a chair all day because there was no beds AGAIN! While we were there, some clowns came through the hospital and entertained the children. Frantina loved them! They made funny balloon animals for the kids. Almost everyday, some group is coming through the hospital with small gifts for the children there. This hospital has huge and was a leading hospital in advancing modern pediatric care in the Dominican Republic.
Then for the night, they put us down in Emergency Room in a small room with some chairs in it. When the anesthesiologist came to see us about 10 PM, he could not figure out why they had put us down there instead of just letting us sit in the neurosurgical ward all night. I said…I had wondered that too! Finally, some people left the room which left a place for us to pull out a chair that made into a bed and Frantina was able to sleep some that night. I read my book and listened to kids screaming in the ER as they were getting shots and IV”s started! LOL
She was good the whole time and was not fussy at all. She listens to me better than she does Vivianne. She knows that I do not tolerate her being fussy for no reason. So I stayed with Frantina at night and Vivianne stayed with her during the day. Vivianne did better on the day shift.
At 7:30 AM, the surgery orderly came looking for us and had a difficult time finding where they had stashed us for the night! He finally found us and took us up to the operating suite.
Thankfully, they did not start an IV on Frantina before surgery. They waited until she got back into the operating area. We got to see the doctors (there were 2 pediatric neurosurgeons this time) and they told us what to expect. They said that if the screw that had come out of the bone could be reinserted, they would do that, but if the bone was too brittle, then they would take the plate out completely.
As soon as they came to take her from us, she started crying. She kept saying “Ba Ba” (Kiss Kiss) and so we gave her a kiss and then she said ” I wuv u!” It about broke my heart. I didn’t want to let her go!
Vivianne and I went back to the hotel across the street to eat some breakfast and while we were finishing up, a Haitian mother who was in the neurosurgical unit with her baby called Vivianne to tell her that the surgeon was asking for us. You can probably understand how that kind of scared us! We hurried back to the hospital because it had only been an hour and he had told us to expect two hours. But when we got there, Dr. Sanchez told me that all had gone well. He said the screw was just too heavy for the bone and for now, the best thing to do was to take the plate out completely. They said that the cylinder that they had put around her spinal cord was starting to grow bone around it but it wasn’t stable enough yet to go without her cerivical brace. She must wear this for at least the next 3 months and we cannot remove it for any thing except changing her surgical dressing. We’ll see how that goes.
We are thinking bathing might be another time to change it if we can control her trying to sit up.
Frantina has done fantastic this time after surgery! She has ate and slept great. I said maybe she didn’t sleep well because she was in pain. We’ll see how she sleeps tonight here in the hotel.
The surgeon told us that we could go home on Friday but the Pediatrician didn’t discharge here until today. I was not too happy because she was crawling all over her bed on Thursday! She had an IV and antibiotics until Sunday night, so maybe it did her good to stay the extra time, but it was hard for Vivianne and I! Even Frantina kept saying, “you wanna go?” She wanted to stand up and the floor in the unit just wasn’t clean enough to let her stand beside the bed. GLA orphanage is 100% cleaner than the neurosurgical unit here!
The mothers and kids in the 10 bed unit are awake until 2 AM sometimes. They are noisy and yelling back and forth to each other. These children need their rest, but the nurses don’t say anything to the mothers. There are no rules like that in the unit. Some nights, they are asleep by midnight, but that is seldom. We are talking about kids with brain tumors, hydrocephalic children who just had shunts put in, spinal bifida babies, etc. Sick kids! The Haitian mother and I had our kids quiet and ready for bed by 9 PM and we were quiet by 10 PM. Haitian mothers understand about kids needing their rest and we are quiet because we don’t want to wake them up! LOL
I could not sleep there even though the chairs were new and folded out flat but had about 1 inch of padding on them and was like sleeping on a plywood board! They were so hard. I told the other Haitian mother that I thought I had enough padding to make up for the hardness, but I guess I didn’t! Her name is Nathalie and she told me that I should try sleeping on them every night for the last month! Nathalie has been in the hospital with her baby for 6 months now and has 3 children at home with their father. Can you feature staying day and night in the hospital with your baby sleeping on hard chairs with lots of noise, day and night, for six months with no break? Yikes. I would go crazy having to do that!
Once everyone went to sleep, things were quiet. The night nurse either slept in a chair or on the examination table. She did not get up even when IV’s pumps were beeping! One time she told me to do something with Frantina’s pump, but of course, I could not understand her Spanish, so she had to get up and come and look at it! She was not happy with me, but oh well, that is her job!! I would have taken care of it myself but the pump was in Spanish too and I had no idea what it was saying! LOL During the last 5 nights, I was the only person in that unit that was awake the whole night. I read several books in the last few days. I am so thankful for my Kindle electronic book. I do not know what I would do without it!
Frantina has been very congested since surgery and has needed around the clock nebulizer treatments to try and break up the mucous in her lungs. She is much better now, but we just gave her a treatment here at the hotel. She does cough pretty good now when we tell her to cough, so that is good. She also came home on an oral antibiotic for 7 days. Hopefully, this will be all she needs and once it’s done, she will be ok.
Frantina was so happy to leave the hospital today. We immediately went to the store to get her some food! She said she was hungry! She has been walking around the coffee table here in the hotel room and talking non stop. I am so thankful that she is happy and able to do everything she did before surgery. I was scared this time before surgery. I was afraid that something might happen with her spinal cord. But God heard our prayers and calmed my fears and she is fine.
We are planning on staying here in Santo Domingo for 2 days to be sure that everything is ok and then return to Haiti on Thursday. Vivianne, Frantina, and I cannot wait to get home to rice and beans with meat sauce, and white rice with legume sauce, . We have missed Haitian food so much! We also miss everyone back at GLA. I have so much to do to organize getting ready for IBESR authorization with their new policies.
We just want to go home, because we all know, “There is no place like home!”
(Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz)
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